Green machine: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid debuts with solar roof for better fuel economy

Following the reveal of the dramatic-looking 2020 Hyundai Sonata, the South Korean brand gave us our first look at the sedan’s more frugal sibling.

On Monday, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid bowed and features a solar roof to make the hybrid powertrain a smidge more efficient. The brand estimates the solar roof will help extend driving ranges by about 808 miles per year. While that’s the big picture, it boils down to about 2.2 miles per day.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The latest Sonata Hybrid will also not follow the CVT trend, despite other Hyundai models ditching traditional automatic transmissions. Instead, the frugal sedan will sport a 6-speed automatic transmission complete with what Hyundai called “Active Shift Control.” ASC is meant to provide a more engaging experience for drivers and improve fuel economy. The system includes new control logic software for the hybrid control unit to quicken gear shifts by 30 percent, per the brand. Greater synchronization between the transmission, engine, and the electric motor should also help make the 6-speed automatic more durable. Hyundai added ASC minimizes friction.

Outside of the two new major systems, the Sonata Hybrid powertrain combines a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine and an electric motor. Together, they make 192 horsepower. Hyundai did not provide fuel economy estimates for the U.S. sedan.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Hybrid models take on most of the same design elements from the standard sedan, though there are a few eco touches. The cascading grille features a separate pattern from standard Sonatas, a different rear spoiler sits at the back, and unique alloy wheels help with aerodynamics. The company didn’t talk about many specific features, but the company’s Digital Key will be included, which allows owners to use their smartphones to unlock the car.

Hyundai did not provide information about the car’s launch or when we will see it in the U.S., but all eyes will be on the previous model’s fuel economy number. The 2019 Sonata Hybrid mustered 41 mpg combined.

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